Are we trading our weather?

Posted: July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Since it has been almost two decades since the metro area experienced a rainfall surplus, it’s a bit tough to for us in many ways throughout this region. Let’s face it: Most of us are just not used to constant rainfall. We’re part of the Sunshine Belt. It’s not in our nature to deal with this much rain. Some of us might even experience SAD  (seasonal affective disorder) by being inside way too much and seeing much less sun than usual. Typically all of our seasons are incredibly dry – so dry that we’re in danger of water shortages. Indeed I realize that writing about water shortages seems far-fetched at the moment, but if one looks at the long-term record in this region, rainfall is usually off of our radar. Here’s a little reminder: We were in danger of water shortages in summer 2007 when there was very little rain. In fact, Lake Lanier’s level was so low that the governor and others prayed for rain. The world has seen droughts in many places throughout Africa to Australia and back over to the California and the Midwest. So, it was a surprise to many (not all of course) that the metro area would be affected by drought. Recently an engineering firm released a report saying that Georgia needs to double its water needs by 2020. According to engineering firm Burns and McDonnell Southeast, Georgians use an estimated 2,500,000,000 gallons of water per day. That consumption rate is expected to rise to 5,000,000,000 – which would drain Lake Lanier in eight days.

Again, it’s hard to read an engineering firm’s report that we still need more water, but just imagine for a moment that our weather patterns have “reversed’ — meaning that Seattle, Washington now has our heat and humidity and we have Seattle’s constant rainfall. Yes, it sounds crazy, but just imagine that there has been a climate change shift to favor us in the Southeast.  If that’s the case, then I’ll trade my Target/Walmart/Banana Republic/Brooks Brothers wardrobe in for Seattle’s singer/songwriter Eddie Vedder’s flannel shirt ensemble and ditch my shaving razors. I’ll retreat to a North Georgia log cabin, enjoy some fine whisky and weapons cache and write these posts from there. Wait, that’s more like the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. I think even my neighbor’s cat knew that combo of whisky and weapons was an accident waiting to happen for Dr. Thompson.

While a permanent  “weather trade”  is unlikely at the moment, just imagine if the scenario came true. Just imagine for a moment that Atlanta would receive Seattle’s constant rainfall. The Atlanta metro region would have to learn quite a bit fast since most residents go into panic mode. This means that we’ll have to make some necessary investments. As anyone in Seattle will tell you, it isn’t cheap living in the rain. We will have to invest in some good tires with excellent tread-wear ratings for our cars to reduce the chances of hydroplaning. We’ll also have to invest in personal rain gear including those boots, galoshes, raincoats and of course umbrellas. As far as our public infrastructure goes, we’ll have to invest in better storm-water runoff so that our roads will not turn into pools. I hate to see so many of the metro area’s trees tumbling onto houses. Trees have been instrumental in keep homes out of the sun’s incredible nasty rays thus heating the structures up like toasters. So, if we will continue to receive this much rain, we will have to invest in voluntarily pulling down and/or pruning more trees.

Back to reality: The rain surplus is temporary. Most likely we will be wishing for this amount of rain next year. So while we attempt to negotiate ourselves through these rain events, just think of our neighbors to the north who have been dealing with the heat-something that they rarely receive as well. In the meantime, I’ll try to run out when it’s incredibly hot and humid and get some yard word in before the next downpour.


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